[WikiEN-l] Recruits?

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat Mar 15 19:37:36 UTC 2003

Daniel Ehrenberg wrote:

> How could I tell people about wikipedia without sounding like a nerd? 
> I'm trying to replace people's Warcraft addictions with Wikipeida 
> (after all, which one is worse?) but everyone says, "That's so stupid! 
> How are you addicted to an encyclopedia? You're a nerd!". What do I 
> do? Is it wrong to try to get someone addicted to something?

Leaving aside issues related to the War on Drugs, being addicted to 
something can be a positive characteristic for some people; for most 
others, unfortunately,  it bears the hallmarks of escapism or even 
obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Really great accomplishments in this 
world are often the product of a passion, but so too is the devastation 
of some of history's greatest arch-villains, and so too are the ravings 
of lunatics.  Those who lack the passions are too fearful of the risks 
posed by the villains and lunatics to encourage new creativity.

Epithets like "nerd" are too easily taken as insults when they really 
shouldn't be.  Sometimes, when you consider the person who is trying to 
insult you with it, you can even see it as praise.  It's understandable 
that you would want to share your joys with your friends, but the risk 
is that of sounding like a fundamentalist preacher who has Wikipedia in 
his hand instead of the Bible.  Replacing someone else's addictions can 
have unforseen consequences, since an addiction sometimes fulfills 
certain psychological needs.  It requires understanding the other 
person's addiction, and where they're coming from, or perhaps letting 
them know when material has been posted to Wikipedia that would give 
them an advantage in their Warcraft play.  But that requires at least 
enough understanding of the game to be able to recognize such "quality" 
information, or even drawing upon other material about this that is 
already on the net.  You may even find that as a non-addict your 
game-play standards may be much higher than that of many of the addicts 
-- that could make you an excellent advisor.


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